Running up Col d'Izoard along with dozens of cyclists shouting 'allez, allez, allez' as they pedal past up the steep hill to 2360m is the best incentive. 

In the mountains around Serre Chevalier in France, a few of the key roads to the cols are closed to cars in the summer for three to four hours. But not only does this give cyclists the roads to themselves but it's also a good opportunity for running without petrol fumes. Last week, though, I was the only runner at 8.30am going up Col d'Izoard along with dozens of cyclists. The words from the cyclists at they passed me ranged from 'allez, allez, allez' to 'courage' to 'chapeau' to many 'bonjours' and a final 'bravo' at the top. The encouragement just kept coming. 

It took 1hr 13mins to run 5 miles and over 600m vertical to the top of the Col d'Izoard col where the Serre Chevalier tourists office had marquees with refreshments. Coming down was faster, obviously, taking around 35 mins. It felt like my feet weren't touching the ground - and looking at the photo, it seems they actually weren't!

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